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AMERICAN SAMOA HISTORICAL CALENDAR
JANUARY - FEBRUARY - MARCH - APRIL - MAY - JUNE - JULY - AUGUST - SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER - NOVEMBER - DECEMBER
AMERICAN SAMOA HISTORICAL CALENDAR BIBLIOGRAPHY
HISTORICAL PICTURES
HISTORICAL PRESERVATION OFFICE

THE SAMOAN HISTORICAL CALENDAR
1606-2001

(PLEASE NOTE:  Due to the high volume of content contained in the
 historical calendar, we will be publishing each month separately.)

                         

DEDICATION:

 This calendar is dedicated to the teachers and schoolchildren of the Samoan Islands.

 ___________________________________________________________________

 

THE SAMOAN HISTORICAL CALENDAR, 1606-2001

 

MARCH:  

March 1:

  On March 1, 1606, Swains Island was sighted by Spanish navigator Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, who named it "Gente Hermosa." (Bryan 1927: 1; Gray 1960: 211; Spate II, 1979: 134)

On March 1, 1900, Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Solf, newly appointed as Imperial Governor of German Samoa (called "Deutsch Samoa" or simply "Samoa" by the Germans), raised the flag at Mulinu'u, Apia "in the presence of a great audience. The Kaiser's proclamation, read at the ceremony, stated: 'We hereby, in the name of the empire, take these islands under our Imperial protection.' The governor declared the islands to be German territory, and hoisted the Imperial flag of the consulate to the strains of 'Heil Kaiser, Dir,' ['Hail to you, Emperor'] and a national salute from H.I.G.M.S. [His Imperial German Majesty's Ship] Cormoran and the U.S.S. Abarenda, Commander B.F. Tilley, United States Navy, Commanding. Governor Solf visited Abarenda the next day and was saluted with 13 guns." (Bryan 1927: 43; Field 1984: 26)

On March 1, 1915, Commander John Martin Poyer, U.S. Navy, Retired, relieved Lieutenant Charles Armijo Woodruff and took office as American Samoa's 11th naval governor (until June 10, 1919). Poyer was American Samoa's longest-serving naval governor, spending four years, two months and ten days in office. He and Captain Henry Francis Bryan, the Territory's 16th naval governor (March 17, 1925-September 9, 1927), were the only two governors who had retired from the U.S. Navy prior to their gubernatorial terms. (USNHC: Poyer RO)

On March 1, 1922, Captain Edwin Taylor Pollock succeeded Captain Waldo Evans, and became American Samoa's 14th naval governor (until September 4, 1923). (USNHC: Pollock RO)

On March 1, 1938, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Taisi Tupuola Tufuga Efi, third Prime Minister of the Independent State of Western Samoa (1976-1982), was born to parents Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole and Noue Irene Nelson Tamasese. (Warburton 1996: 91-92)

On March 1, 1941, the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion arrived in Pago Pago Harbor, aboard USS William P. Biddle. Its total strength was 443 officers and men. (Burke 1945b: 25)

On March 1, 1944, command of the Samoan Defense Group reverted to the Navy, as Captain Allen Hobbs, USN relieved Major General Charles F.B. Price, USMC, and assumed the title "Commandant of the Samoan Defense Group." Due to the northward and westward progress of the Allied Pacific offensive, Samoa had become a strategic backwater. (Burke 1945b: 63, 75, 130)

On March 1, 1949, Sir Guy Powles, Ph.D., was appointed as New Zealand's High Commissioner for Western Samoa. (Davidson 1967: 192)

On March 1, 1951, American Samoa's last naval governor, Captain Thomas F. Darden, left Samoa aboard SS Sonoma, accompanied by Mrs. Darden. (Thompson 1990: 28)

On March 1, 1953, Captain Allen Hobbs, American Samoa's 30th naval governor (February 8, 1944-January 27, 1945) "was relieved of all active duty and placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List." (USNHC: Hobbs RO)

March 2:

On March 2, 1872, Commander Richard W. Meade, USN and Mauga Manuma of Pago Pago signed the first American-Samoan treaty at Gagamoe Stream in Pago Pago. This treaty gave the United States the exclusive right to establish a coaling station for its fleet in Pago Pago Harbor. Although it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate, the Samoans considered it "binding." (Gray 1960: 58)

On March 2, 1889, the U.S. Congress appropriated "the sum of $100,000 for the purpose of permanently establishing a station for coal and other supplies for the naval and commercial marine of the United States on the shores of the Bay of Pago Pago, Samoa, in pursuance of the rights acquired by the Treaty of 1878." (This was in reference to the Mamea-Evarts treaty signed on January 17, 1878). (Anonymous 1894: 12; Bryan 1927: 44)

On March 2, 1906, on Tutuila, the U.S. Government purchased "Parcel No. 50: Lighthouse Site, Aunu'u," 0.45 acres, from "Faumuina" for $120.00. (Anonymous 1960: 4)

On March 2, 1928, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named USS Tutuila (PG-44; later redesignated PR-4), a Yangtze River patrol boat, was commissioned at the Kiangnan Dock and Engineering Works in Shanghai, China. She and her sister ships Guam (later renamed Wake: PR-3), Panay (PR-5), Oahu (PR-6), Luzon (PR-7) and Mindanao (PR-8) were named for islands in America's overseas possessions. Her displacement was 395 tons, her length was 159 feet 5 inches, and her beam 27 feet 1 inch. She was armed with two 3-inch deck guns and ten .30-caliber Lewis machine guns, and carried a crew of 70. She was sponsored by Miss Beverly Pollard, and her first captain was Lieutenant Commander Frederick Baltzly. (Mooney VII, 1981: 366; Silverstone 1965: 243)

March 3:

On March 3, 1919, the U.S. Congress passed an act which "provided for a census of American Samoa, to be taken by the governor in accordance with plans approved by the United States Director of Census." (Bryan 1927: 55)

On March 3, 1930, the leaders of the Mau met with Western Samoa's Administrator, Colonel Stephen Shepard Allen, New Zealand's Defense Minister, Mr. John Cobbe, and other officials in the guest house of Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole in Vaimoso. Also in attendance were Malietoa Tanumafili I, Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I and Tuimaleali'ifano Siu (whose sons would play prominent roles in Western Samoa's future). The meeting was lengthy; nothing was accomplished, and tensions increased. (Field 1984: 183-185)

On March 3, 1931, Stephen Victor Graham, American Samoa's 17th naval governor (September 9, 1927-August 2, 1929) was "Advanced on the Retired List to the rank of Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy." (USNHC: Graham RO)

On March 3, 1933, Western Samoa's Chief Judge, John Luxford, found Mau leader O.F. Nelson guilty of sedition, and sentenced him to eight months in jail and ten years in exile. He was immediately taken to Vaimea Jail. (Field 1984: 210)

On March 3, 1954, Marist Father John Baptist Dieter was consecrated as Vicar Apostolic of Samoa "by the Apostolic Delegate to Oceania, Archbishop Claudio Carboni in the presence of Bishop John Rogers, Bishop Victor Foley and others." (Heslin 1995: 61)

March 4:

On March 4, 1874, Stephen Victor Graham, American Samoa's 17th naval governor (September 9, 1927--August 2, 1929), was born in Cass County, Michigan. (USNHC: Graham RO)

On March 4, 1912, the first American Samoan Hospital was opened at Malaloa, Tutuila. (Many years later, it was called the "Annex" and served as ASG housing). (Gray 1960: 170)

On March 4, 1925, Swains Island (also known as Gente Hermosa, Quiros Island, Olosega, Olohenga and Jennings Island) was annexed by the U.S. Congress under the provisions of Public Resolution No. 75, 68th Congress) and became part of American Samoa. (Gray 1960: 218-219)

On March 4, 1930, a second meeting of Mau leaders with New Zealand's Defense Minister John Cobbe and Western Samoa's Administrator, Colonel Stephen Allen, ended in failure. (Field 1984: 184-186)

On March 4, 1933, Mau leader Olaf Frederick Nelson was put aboard the ship Maui Pomare en route to imprisonment and exile in New Zealand. (Field 1984: 210)

On March 4, 1953, James Arthur Ewing completed his term as American Samoa's third appointed civil governor (since November 28, 1952). (ASG: Governors' List)

On March 4, 1953, Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay appointed Lawrence McCully Judd, a former Governor of the Territory of Hawaii, as American Samoa's fourth appointed civil governor (until August 5, 1953). (ASG: Governors List; Judd 1971: 281)

March 5:

On March 5, 1903, Commander E.B. Underwood was appointed fourth naval governor of American Samoa, relieving Lieutenant Commander Henry Minett (until January 30, 1905). (ASG: Governors' List)

On March 5, 1973, "Bishop Pio Taofinu'u was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI, becoming the first ever Cardinal in the Pacific Islands. He had also been the first Polynesian bishop in history." (Heslin 1995: vii)

On March 5, 1973, the Official Seal of American Samoa, bearing the motto "Samoa Muamua le Atua" ("Samoa, Let God be First") was adopted by the 13th Territorial Legislature. (Theroux n.d.: 5)

March 6:

On March 6, 1899, Rear Admiral Albert Kautz, USN, arrived in Apia aboard USS Philadelphia, "with instructions to act in concert with a majority of the consular representatives of the three powers" (England, Germany and the United States). (Bryan 1927: 40)

On March 6, 1909, Lawrence McCully Judd, who would serve as American Samoa's fourth appointed civil governor (March 4-August 5, 1953) married Florence Bell Hackett at Richmond Hill, Long Island, New York. This marriage produced five children: Helen, Agnes, Sophie, Lawrence McCully, Jr., and Emile. (Anonymous n.d.: 114)

On March 6, 1942, the U.S. Navy's Mobile Hospital No. 3 ("MOB 3"), commanded by Captain Robert P. Parsons, was commissioned. It was the first such hospital to leave the United States in World War II. (Parsons 1945: 30)

On March 6, 1942, Brigadier General Henry L. Larsen, USMC, was the first person to land at the Tafuna Air Base, which was not yet complete. As Commanding General of the Samoan Defense Group, he had received "secret orders dated 6 March 1942, which mandated 'strong mutually supporting defensive positions, consisting from East to West of the Islands of Strawstack [Tutuila], Strawhat ['Upolu], and Strawman [Savai'i], with the outpost island to the northwest called Strawboard {Wallis Island].' The code name for the entire Samoan Defense Group was Straw." (Hudson 1994: 24)

On March 6, 1944, Lieutenant Richard J. Ludwig, USNR, relieved Lieutenant James J. Adams, USNR, as "Commanding Officer, Naval Advance Base, 'Upolu, British Samoa." (Burke 1945c: 70)

On March 6, 1948, Dr. Malama Meleisea, a leading Western Samoan historian (Lagaga: A Short History of Western Samoa; The Making of Modern Samoa; 'O Tama Uli) was born in Poutasi, Falealili, 'Upolu. (Warburton 1996: 56)

March 7:

On March 7, 1930, the final meeting between Western Samoa's Administrator, Colonel Stephen Allen, New Zealand's Defense Minister, Mr. John Cobbe and Mau leaders Malietoa Tanumafili I, Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole, Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I and Tuimaleali'ifano Siu was held in Vaimoso. The Mau leaders presented a letter which contained a list of questions regarding the status of their petition to the League of Nations, and their dissatisfaction with Judge Luxford's verdict regarding the murder of Paramount Chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III on "Black Saturday" (December 29, 1929). (Field 1984: 188-189)

On March 7, 1942, four resident "enemy aliens" (three Japanese and one German) in American Samoa were released from custody by the Military Governor, Brigadier General Henry L. Larsen, and were kept "under observation." (Hudson 1994: 24)

On March 7, 1942, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt informed England's Prime Minister Winston Churchill that "Samoa has been garrisoned and a U.S. pursuit [i.e. fighter] squadron has been sent to Suva. With the line from Samoa to Australia held, New Zealand in its retired position south thereof, is not thought to be in danger of serious attack." (Kimball I, 1984: 392)

On March 7, 1944, the remaining companies of the Seabees' 2nd Construction Battalion left 'Upolu and returned to the United States. (Burke 1945c: 70)

March 8:

On March 8, 1927, American Samoa's Governor, Captain Henry Francis Bryan (USN, Ret.) issued this amendment to Regulation No. 2-1921: "Malagas: 6. In view of the fact that so much time has been wasted since the beginning of this year in cricket games  between villages (some of which were played without authority), no permission will be granted for malagas until further orders. 7. No malaga will be made, at any time, for any purposes, without the approval of the governor. 8. Any disobedience of this order will be considered a violation of Section 10, Offenses Against the Government and the Civil Rights of Citizens, Paragraph 5, Codification of the Regulations and Orders for the Government of American Samoa, 1921, and dealt with accordingly." (Noble 1931: 15)

On March 8, 1942, the first echelon of MAG-13 (Marine Air Group 13: Colonel Thomas J. Walker commanding) embarked on SS President Garfield at San Diego, en route to Samoa. (Sherrod 1952: 48)

On March 8, 1945, Vice Admiral W.L. Calhoun, Commander, South Pacific Area and Force, inspected the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Unit in Pago Pago Harbor and recommended that "drastic cuts" be made in personnel. (Burke 1945b: 123)

March 9:

On March 9, 1868, August Nilspeter Gustav Nelson, "a Swedish prospector fresh from the Australian gold rush," father of Olaf Frederick Nelson and founder of Samoa's Nelson family, arrived in Apia. (Ala'ilima 1988: 141)

On March 9, 1900, Mata'afa Iosefo thanked the German Emperor (Kaiser Wilhelm II) for taking possession of the western Samoan islands, and expressed his wish that the German colonial laws would be made "in conformity to the rules and customs of the Samoans." (Hempenstall 1978: 33)

On March 9, 1928, the New Zealand warships HMS Dunedin and HMS Diomede weighed anchor in Apia Harbor and returned to New Zealand, having done little to solve Sir George Spafford Richardson's problems with the Mau. (Field 1984: 122)

On March 9, 1941, USS William P. Biddle, carrying the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lester A. Dessez, weighed anchor at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and set sail for Tutuila. (Denfeld 1989a: 15)

On March 9, 1944, the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion left Tutuila for Nanumea in the Ellice Islands. (Burke 1945b: 75)

March 10:

On March 10, 1838, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN, was designated commander of the United States Exploring Expedition. (Stanton 1975: 61; Wilkes 1978: xix)

On March 10, 1881, Malietoa Laupepa was crowned "King of Samoa" by the "Three Consuls" (Britain, Germany and the United States). (Bryan 1927: 27)

On March 10, 1909, Captain John F. Parker, Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, writing to Secretary of the Navy George von L. Meyer, sent this "list of names of employees who will remain under the direct orders of the Inspector of Public Works:

Name:Occupation:Name:Occupation:

Walker, R.M.,Yard ForemanHala,Laborer
Jewett, R.W.,ForemanSueina,   "
Tarrant, H.B.,PainterImui,          "
Washington, G.,HelperVave,   "
Willis, G.,   "Anisi,         "
Tomu,   "Tulu,   "
Tuki,   "Mau,   "
Yandall, W.H.,InterpreterPenisio,   "
Laufaia,JanitorKero   "
George,   "Tuku,   "
Taamu,WatchmanTomi,   "
Iapani,   "Kali,   "
Misa,   "Tonaga,   "
Tapani,LamplighterTolau,   "   "

(Letter, Parker-Meyer: 03/10/1909)

  On March 10, 1914, American Samoa's Governor, Commander Clark Daniel Stearns, issued his "Regulation No. 8-1914: "Lease of Native Lands for School Purposes." (Noble 1931: 58)

On March 10, 1930, Defense Minister John Cobbe returned to New Zealand after meeting with Western Samoa's Administrator, Colonel Stephen Allen and the leaders of the Mau. He told the Cabinet that "I am of the opinion that had the Mau movement been handled by the [U.S. Naval] Administration in Tutuila, it could have been used for the advancement of Samoa and might have become a power for good." He recommended that no more military men be sent to administer Western Samoa, advising instead that businessmen with "vision and tact" be sent instead. (Field 1984: 189)

On March 10, 1941, American Samoa's Governor, Captain Laurence Wild, "ordered the Captain of the Yard to prepare USS ONTARIO for the laying of mine fields to protect the harbor." (Burke 1945b: 140)

On March 10, 1942, the second echelon of MAG-13, "bringing 19 F4F-3s [Grumman Wildcat fighters] of VMF-111 [Marine Fighter Squadron 111] (Major Daniel W. Torrey, Jr.) left San Diego on board Procyon," en route to Samoa. (Sherrod 1952: 48)

On March 10, 1948, the Samoa Amendment Act of 1947 became law. It changed the designation of Western Samoa's principal executive officer from "Administrator" to "High Commissioner." The "Administration of Western Samoa" became the "Government of Western Samoa." (Davidson 1967: 185)

On March 10, 1961, Manase "Jesse" Sapolu was born in Toamua, 'Upolu, Western Samoa to Reverend Pa'apa'a Niu Sapolu of Vaiala, 'Upolu and Lila Manase of Lufilufi, 'Upolu. As left guard and center for the San Francisco 49ers, Jesse became the first Samoan to play in three Super Bowls: XXIII (1989), XXIV (1990) and XXIX (1995). (Sapolu in Sutter 1989: 202; Wiesbusch 1990: 348-360; 362-374; 381)

March 11:

On March 11, 1889, Admiral L.A. Kimberley, USN, arrived in Apia aboard USS Trenton to protect American citizens, and to prevent the subjugation of Samoa by Germany. (Gray 1960: 87)

On March 11, 1900, the U.S. Naval Station Commandant, Commander Benjamin Franklin Tilley, invited Tui Manu'a Elisara to sign the Deed of Cession, thus ceding Manu'a to the United States. The Tui Manu'a replied that he was not yet prepared to make a decision, but he invited Tilley to Ta'u for discussions. (Gray 1960: 108)

On March 11, 1942, the Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila (Captain Laurence Wild) requested materials from the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ordnance to construct anti-boat booms across Tutuila's channels and inlets. (Burke 1945b: 46 n.33)

On March 11, 1944, a ships' service store was put into operation at the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila's Naval Air Facilities. (Burke 1945b: 143)

March 12:

On March 12, 1880, Malietoa Talavou was declared "King of Samoa" and his nephew, Malietoa Laupepa was declared "Vice King," to succeed his uncle on his death, by the Three Consuls. (Bryan 1927: 27)

On March 12, 1900, Commander Benjamin Franklin Tilley, accompanied by Luther Wood Osborn, the American Consul General in Apia, met with Tui Manu'a Elisara on Ta'u "at 10 a.m." Tilley reported that "Tuimanua addressed me very courteously, giving me a hearty welcome to Manua, but at the same time giving me plainly to understand that he did not wish any interference with his 'kingdom' by any outside power." The fono lasted "until 3 p.m., without much result." Tilley wrote that "I was asked many questions by the Tuimanua, and other chiefs......They seemed suspicious and somewhat sullen. (I learned afterward that they feared that I would take away their lands and other property. They had been told this by some of the mischievous and dissolute white men, who are the curse of these islands)." Upon rejoining his hosts in the evening, Tilley "found them in a very different frame of mind." After the evening session of the fono was "opened with prayers and singing," the Tuimanu'a handed Tilley "a letter, accepting gracefully for himself, the chiefs, and the people the sovereignty and protection of the United States of America, for the island[s] of Manua. I felt much gratified with the result of the day's work." (Bryan 1927: 46)

On March 12, 1930, "...[HMS] Dunedin, defeated for a second time by the Mau, sailed for Auckland with sixty-one men on the sick list. The seaplane was ruined beyond repair by the ravages of the weather. [Captain Maxwell] Spicer and the marines remained behind to ensure that the Mau did not rise again. Back in Auckland [Commodore Geoffrey] Blake put on a brave face for the press: 'The whole of the operations were extremely satisfactory. All manoeuvres went smoothly and well.'" (Field 1984: 190-191)

On March 12, 1942, Pago Pago Harbor boasted the following defense installations: 1) An anti-torpedo net across the entrance; 2) A submarine indicator net stretching from Blunts Point to Breakers Point, and 3) "Two sono-buoys located at the harbor entrance; one about six hundred yards east of Point Distress and the other about six hundred yards south of Breakers Point." (Burke 1945b: 46 n.34)

On March 12, 1974, Captain Thomas Benjamin Fitzpatrick, American Samoa's 24th naval governor (acting: January 15-20, 1936) died in Garden City, New York. (USNHC: Fitzpatrick RO)

March 13:

On March 13, 1876, three sailors from HMS Barracouta were killed by Samoans "whom they attempted to disarm and who possibly suspected [Barracouta's Captain] C.E. Stevens of wanting to restore Malietoa [Talavou]." (Gilson 1970: 328; Morrell 1960: 218)

On March 13, 1926, Harry Jay Moors---author of With Stevenson in Samoa and other works, friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, mortal enemy of American Samoa's first naval governor Benjamin F. Tilley, journalist, and businessman---died in Ululoa, 'Upolu. While watching a movie at the Tivoli theater with his son, Harry Moors, Jr., "Moors began to get pains in his chest and asked his son to drive him home. Helped into the house, Moors made his way to his wife's room. He took her into his arms, Nimo, Fa'animonimo of the family of Asiono, his wife of 43 years, and said, 'Oh, Nimo, how I haved loved you!' and his heart gave out. He was 72 years old."  (Theroux 1981: 64)

On March 13, 1941, Captain Laurence Wild, Commandant of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, initiated plans for an airstrip on Tutuila. (Burke 1945b: 30-35)

On March 13, 1942, the Army Section of Japan's Imperial General Headquarters approved a southwest Pacific offensive aimed at New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa. (Willmott 1983: 52)

March 14:

On March 14, 1913, Lieutenant Nathan Woodworth Post relieved Commander William Michael Crose and became American Samoa's eighth naval governor (acting: until July 14, 1913). (USNHC: Post RO)

On March 14, 1942, Western Samoa's Administrator, Alfred Clarke Turnbull, informed American Samoa's Military Governor, Brigadier General Henry L. Larsen, USMC, that New Zealand's Prime Minister had informed him that "Americans can have full and free use of all land and other facilities for all war purposes and every possible assistance....A senior military officer from New Zealand will arrive in Apia by air at a very early date for discussions with American authorities." (Burke 1945c: 16)

On March 14, 1942, the New Zealand Army "Officer Commanding Samoa Defence Force" in Western Samoa prepared a "Report on Available Billeting Accommodation" for American Samoa's Military Governor, Brigadier Henry L. Larsen, USMC. The report listed the following sites as possible accommodations for the U.S. Marines who would be defending Western Samoa: Ifi Ifi [Leifiifi] and Malifa Schools: 800 men; Race Course: 1,000 men "under canvas;" Papauta School: 500 men; Avele School: 200 men; Malua LMS Mission: 800 men, and the Methodist Mission Compounds at Faleula and Piula. (Burke 1945c: 18-19)

March 15:

On March 15, 1889, the "Great Apia Hurricane," with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, descended upon the American, British and German warships which were anchored in Apia Harbor. The German ships SMS Eber and SMS Adler were smashed into reefs and sank, along with the American vessels USS Trenton and USS Vandalia. Britain's HMS Calliope, "aided by larger engines and the skillful seamanship of Captain [Henry Coey] Kane," survived by "fighting her way out to the open seas." USS Nipsic and SMS Olga had to beach themselves, and were refloated several months later. Many sailors of all three nationalities were saved by the heroic efforts of Samoan onlookers, led by Seumanutafa Moepogai of Apia village. (Gray 1960: 87-91; Hoyt 1968: passim)

On March 15, 1927, Western Samoa's Administrator, Major General Sir George Spafford Richardson, submitted his "Maintenance of Authority in Native Affairs" ordinance to the Legislative Council for its approval. (Field 1984: 83)

On March 15, 1941, USS William P. Biddle, carrying the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion, entered Pago Pago Harbor. The 7th became the first unit of the Fleet Marine Force to operate in the South Pacific. Unloading of the ship was delayed, due to an outbreak of measles. (Hough et al. 1958: 68)

March 16:

On March 16, 1889, the total casualties from the "Great Apia Hurricane" totalled 147 men. (Hoyt 1968: 205)

On March 16, 1889, the following headline appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"TERRIBLE HURRICANE AT SAMOA

Six Warships Destroyed

H.M.S. "CALLIOPE" SAVED

Two Iron Barques and Eleven Coasting Vessels Wrecked

LOSS OF 150 LIVES

Fearful Violence of the Wind and Sea.  

The Shore Strewn with Wreckage

Terrible Scene of Desolation

BRAVE AND UNSELFISH CONDUCT OF THE NATIVES."

(Theroux 1982: 46)

  On March 16, 1915, Leone's first branch dispensary was started in a building rented from Leoso Ripley. The rent was paid by the Western District. (Bryan 1927: 76)

On March 16, 1923, Major General Sir George Spafford Richardson succeeded Colonel Robert Ward Tate as New Zealand's Administrator of Western Samoa. (Field 1984: 61-62)

On March 16, 1930, Mr. Paul Diefendorfer was appointed Principal of Poyer School and Superintendent of the Poyer Band. (Guthrie 1930)

On March 16, 1944, at the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, the Welfare Department Cobbler Shop and the Barber Shop were transferred to the Ships' Service Department. (Burke 1945b: 143)

On March 16, 1972, the following American Samoan historic buildings were entered on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C.: Navy Buildings 1 (Government House), 38 (Telegraph and Radio Station) and 43 (Commissary), the Atauloma Girls' School and the Fagalele Boys' School. (Apple 1971b, d, e, f and g)

March 17:

On March 17, 1889, Seumanutafa Moepogai of Apia village "render[ed] valuable assistance in directing the natives engaged in taking people and property ashore on the 17th and 18th of March" during the "Great Apia Hurricane." (Hoyt 1968: passim)

On March 17, 1907, Rear Admiral Benjamin Franklin Tilley, American Samoa's first naval governor (February 17, 1900-November 27, 1901), died on active duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard at age 59, and was buried at Annapolis, Maryland. (USNHC: Tilley RO)

On March 17, 1925, Captain Henry Francis Bryan, U.S. Navy, Retired, succeeded Captain Edward Stanley Kellogg, and took office as American Samoa's 16th naval governor (until September 9, 1927).  He and Captain John Martin Poyer, the Territory's 11th naval governor (March 1, 1915-June 10, 1919), were the only two governors who had retired from the U.S. Navy prior to their gubernatorial terms. (USNHC: Bryan RO)

On March 17, 1937, "a deep-laden transocean flying boat, bearing the proud name of Pan American Clipper, lifted smartly from the waters of San Francisco Bay, then swung westward. Ahead lay an assignment as dramatic and thrilling as any ever allotted airmen and airplane--the blazing of a 7,000-mile aerial trade route across the South Pacific to link the United States and Australasia." The airplane, a Sikorsky S-42B, license no. NC 16734, was subsequently named the Samoan Clipper. Under the command of Captain Edwin Musick, she pioneered the San Francisco-Honolulu-Kingman Reef-Pago Pago-Auckland route, and exploded northwest of Tutuila on January 11, 1938 (q.v.). (Anonymous ca. 1937)

On March 17, 1942, U.S. Naval and Marine Corps forces occupied the island of 'Upolu in Western Samoa, following an agreement with the New Zealand Administrator. (Burke 1945a: 51)

March 18:

On March 18, 1937, the Pan American Clipper (later renamed the Samoan Clipper), piloted by Captain Ed Musick, arrived in Honolulu, thus completing the first leg of her first South Pacific survey flight. (Anonymous ca. 1937)

On March 18, 1941, the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion debarked from USS William P. Biddle and boarded trucks which transported them to Camp Samuel Nicholas at Faga'alu, American Samoa. (Denfeld 1989a: 16)

March 19:

On March 19, 1881, Malietoa Laupepa, nephew of the recently deceased Talavou, was declared "King of Samoa" by the "Three Consuls" (Britain, Germany and the United States). Tupua Tamasese Lealofi I and Mata'afa Iosefo opposed the declaration. (Bryan 1927: 27)

On March 19, 1900, the U.S. Government purchased "Parcel No. 8: Si'ufoga," totalling 1.06 acres from "Ta'amu and Taito" for $2,000.00. (Anonymous 1960: 3)

On March 19, 1927, in Apia, the "Citizens' Committee" met and formed a new group called the "Samoa League," which came to be known as the "Mau," a word variously translated as "opinion" or "protest." (Field 1984: 84-85)

On March 19, 1934, banished Western Samoan Mau leader Olaf Frederick Nelson arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand, aboard the Maui Pomare. He was taken to Paparua Prison, near Christchurch, and lodged an appeal to the New Zealand Supreme Court from there. (Field 1984: 211)

On March 19, 1942, an advance detachment of Marine Air Group 13 (MAG-13), commanded by Colonel Thomas J. Walker, Jr. (a 1923 Naval Academy graduate with combat experience in Haiti) entered Pago Pago Harbor aboard SS President Garfield. (Denfeld 1989a: 28; Sherrod 1952: 48)

On March 19, 1942, the river gunboat USS Tutuila (PR-4: the first U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name) was leased to the Navy of the Republic of China under the Lend-Lease Act. Her name was changed to Mei Yuan, which may be translated as "of American origin." (Mooney VII, 1981: 367)

On March 19, 1944, Rear Admiral Henry Francis Bryan, American Samoa's 17th naval governor (March 17, 1925-September 9, 1927), died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Meriden, Connecticut at age 78. (USNHC: Bryan RO)

March 20:

On March 20, 1838, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN, assumed command of the United States Exploring Expedition, which he reorganized extensively. (Bryan 1927: 20)

On March 20, 1887, Lawrence McCully Judd, fourth appointed civil governor of American Samoa (March 4-August 5, 1953) was born at "Rosenheim," Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Albert Francis Judd, Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Hawaii and Agnes Hall Boyd Judd. (Anonymous n.d.: 114)

On March 20, 1915, William Churchill III, former U.S. Consul in Apia and noted Polynesianist, resigned from the New York Sun to become an Associate of the Carnegie Institution at a salary of $5,000 per year (later raised to $5,500). (Theroux 1995: 113-114)

On March 20, 1942, Brigadier General Henry L. Larsen, USMC, and Lieutenant Colonel F.L. Hunt of the New Zealand Army signed an agreement providing for the occupation of Western Samoa by U.S. forces. (Burke 1945c: 29-31)

March 21:

On March 21, 1872, in Rarotonga, Louis Becke, Australian adventurer and writer, stowed away on the bark Rotumah, bound for Samoa, where he subsequently worked "as a clerk in the store of Macfarland and Williams, and perhaps did some smuggling on the side," and met Bully Hayes, who became his boon companion. (Michener and Day 1960: 234)

On March 21, 1903, Commander Edmund B. Underwood, Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila issued his "Regulation No. 1-1903: Gaming, Lotteries, Etc." (Noble 1931: 29)

On March 21, 1928, William Nosworthy, New Zealand's Minister of External Affairs, relieved Sir George Richardson of his duties as Administrator of Western Samoa and ordered him home on the next ship. (Field 1984: 123)

On March 21, 1942, the 3rd Marine Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Charles D. Barrett (a veteran with 33 years of service, including combat experience at Vera Cruz, Mexico and in World War I) was organized at New River, North Carolina as part of the Samoan Defense Group. (Denfeld 1989a: 25-26)

March 22:

On March 22, 1904, Commander E.B. Underwood, Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, promulgated his "Regulation No. 1-1904: Trespass of Pigs, Cows, Bulls or Calves and Removal of Walls Across Public Highways." (Noble 1931: 19-20)

On March 22, 1940, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold Raynsford Stark, informed the Commandant of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, Captain Edward William Hanson, that Captain Alfred R. Pefley, USMC, would come to American Samoa to draw up local defense plans. (Burke 1945b: 23)

On March 22, 1942, as part of the 2nd Marine Brigade's "training and school program, a class for the study of the Japanese language was started [on Tutuila]. The course was organized on the basis of a 6 months period of intensive study of written and spoken Japanese with some collateral work on the geography of Japan, the customs, character and habits of the Japanese people with particular emphasis on the military aspects of Japanese life. Capt. Bishop, Asst. Intell. Officer, who recently had two years as a language student in Japan, has conducted this course." (Anonymous 1942: 2)

March 23:

On March 23, 1889, Malietoa Tanumafili I was installed as "King of Samoa" by the "Three Consuls." (Gray 1960: 99)

On March 23, 1891, Captain Elisha Lyman Hamilton ("Samasoni"), the pilot of Pilot's Point, Apia, died at his home in Matautu. (Theroux 1986c: 41)

On March 23, 1916, Thomas Trood, Executive Council member and Apia historian, died at his home in Fugalei, 'Upolu. (Theroux 1985)

On March 23, 1927, Western Samoa's Administrator, Sir George Spafford Richardson, informed his superiors in New Zealand that the Western Samoans' dissatisfaction with his regime "may now be considered at an end." (Field 1984: 86)

March 24:

On March 24, 1880, in Apia, an agreement was entered into by "King" Malietoa Talavou, the Government of Samoa and the "Three Consuls" (Britain, Germany and the United States) whereby the Consuls agreed to support the King, and to provide an Executive Council for him. The members of the council were Thomas Trood, English, Minister of Finance; Alfred Volkmann, German, Minister of Public Works and Jonas M. Coe, American, Minister of Justice.  (Jonas Coe was the father of Emma Eliza Coe, the legendary "Queen Emma"). (Bryan 1927: 27)

On March 24, 1931, Commander James Sutherland Spore relieved Captain Gatewood Sanders Lincoln and took office as American Samoa's 19th naval governor (acting) until April 22, 1931. (USNHC: Spore RO)

On March 24, 1937, Pan American World Airways' Samoan Clipper, a Sikorsky S-42B flying boat piloted by Captain Ed Musick, landed in Pago Pago Harbor on the first leg of her maiden flight from Honolulu, Hawaii to Auckland, New Zealand. (Anonymous ca. 1937; Knott 1981: 131)

On March 24, 1994, the U.S. National Weather Service recorded the highest ever temperature in American Samoa: a sizzling 94 degrees Fahrenheit at the Pago Pago International Airport. (Risnychok-Sorensen  1996: 03)

March 25:

On March 25, 1883, a hurricane destroyed eight ships and killed several people in Apia. (Theroux 1985)

On March 25, 1883, at Lealatele, Savai'i, French Marist Father Jules Delahaye died "under the ruins of his church while removing the Blessed Sacrament during a cyclone." (Heslin 1995: iv)

On March 25, 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson paid a rare visit to Pago Pago. (Theroux 1985)

On March 25, 1901, Commander Benjamin Franklin Tilley, Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, issued his "Regulation No. 1-1901: Buildings." (Noble 1931: 24)

On March 25, 1942, the first USS Tutuila's (PR-4) name "was struck from the United States Navy List," following her transfer to the Navy of the Republic of China. (Mooney VII, 1981: 367)

March 26:

On March 26, 1901, Secretary of the Navy John D. Long directed Commander Benjamin Franklin Tilley, Commandant of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, to revoke William Blacklock's liquor license, despite Tilley's assurances that the Samoans were "safeguarded by law" from drinking there. (Gray 1960: 135-139; Thompson 1990: 5-6)

On March 26, 1944, the Commander, Service Squadron South Pacific Force requested the Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila (Captain Allen Hobbs) "to submit a list of [anti-torpedo] net materials located at Tutuila with the view in mind of removing nets." (Burke 1945b: 138)

On March 26, 1973, Governor John Morse Haydon approved American Samoa's new Official Seal. (Please see the entries for March 5, 1973 and April 17, 1973). (Theroux n.d.: 5)

March 27:

On March 27, 1901, Commander Benjamin Franklin Tilley, Commandant of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, issued his "Regulation No. 3-1901: Dealings Between Samoans and Non-Samoans," which dealt mainly with contracts and lending money, and was later amended by Governors Charles Brainard Taylor Moore on October 21, 1907, Waldo Evans on May 10, 1921 and Henry Francis Bryan on November 19, 1926. (Noble 1931: 77-79)

On March 27, 1942, the 7th Defense Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps, arrived in Apia Harbor aboard USS President Garfield. The ship used its own launches and barges to unload, and assistance was rendered by the Apia Stevedoring Company. Lightweight anti-aircraft guns were quickly installed along the harbor's seawall. "Vehicles, bulldozers and tractors were landed from Naval beach barges at Vaiala. The weather was rainy and the Marines did their own unloading from the barges which were brought alongside Customs Dock and at Vaiala. Temporary camps were established at Ifi Ifi and Moataa....In spite of the wet weather the unloading was carried on with little confusion." (Burke 1945c: 32)

On March 27, 1948, Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I died in Western Samoa. The Council of State was thus reduced to three members: the High Commissioner (as President), Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole. The Council remained so constituted until Western Samoa's independence in 1962. (Davidson 1967: 188; Warburton 1996: 49-50)

On March 27, 1950, a Commission of Inquiry on Government Reform was appointed in Western Samoa. The members were: Tofa Tomasi (Faleasi'u, A'ana District); Tuala Tulo (Le'auva'a, Gaga'emauga); Mata'ia Si'u (Vailoa, Tuamasaga); Tofilau Siaosi (Iva, Fa'asaleleaga); Fa'amatuainu Tufilau (Lufilufi, Atua) and Namulau'ulu Siaosi (Safotulafai, Fa'asaleleaga). (Davidson 1967: 265)

On March 27, 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy appointed H(apwell) Rex Lee, an experienced civil servant in the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, as American Samoa's seventh appointed civil governor (until July 31, 1967). (ASG: Governors' List)

March 28:

On March 28, 1903, the first group of 289 Chinese indentured laborers from Swatow, Fukien Province, arrived in Apia from Shantou, China. Their term of service was three years, at the rate of ten Deutsche Marks per month. They worked ten hours a day, six days a week, with holidays on major Chinese celebrations. George Egerton Leigh Westbrook, an English trader, adventurer, journalist and long-time resident of Apia, described their arrival: "I saw this first batch land in Apia and march up to Ah Qui's [i.e., Ah Kuoi's] big two-storied house. They must have looked very queer to the Samoans when they landed in their black, shiny baggy trousers, jabbering away quite full of excitement and carrying their possessions in baskets hanging from a bamboo slung across their shoulder. They had wide cane hats and their pigtails were all hanging loosely down their backs." (Field 1984: 27; Tom 1986: 3)

On March 28, 1926, a three-day storm inflicted $1,000 worth of damage to Navy property and $1,500 to Island Government property at the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila. (Bryan 1927: 5)

On March 28, 1928, in Western Samoa, Chinese Coolie No. 4515, Lei Mau, was accused of murdering Chinese Coolie No. 5479, Li Chau, for his money. (Field 1984: 127)

On March 28, 1934, exiled Mau leader Olaf Nelson of Western Samoa was moved from Christchurch's Paparua Prison to Wellington Prison, and was released the next day on a 500 bond. His conviction was upheld, but the eight-month prison sentence was reduced to three weeks, which were held to have been served. The ten-year banishment from Samoa remained in effect. (Field 1984: 211)

On March 28, 1942, the U.S. Marine Corps' 7th Defense Battalion was sent from Tutuila to 'Upolu aboard SS President Garfield, and was replaced by the 8th Marines. (Denfeld 1989a: 25; Hudson 1994: 19)

On March 28, 1943, Admiral Ernest Joseph King, Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, warned the Joint Chiefs of Staff that, although the Japanese threat to New Caledonia and Fiji had diminished considerably, "Samoa is definitely exposed...the enemy can seriously damage Samoa unless we are on guard." (Sherrod 1952: 217)

March 29:

On March 29, 1848, Benjamin Franklin Tilley, American Samoa's first naval governor (February 17, 1900-November 27, 1901), was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, to Benjamin and Sarah W. Easterbrooks Tilley. He was the sixth of nine children. (Arnold 1894: 107; USNHC: Tilley RO)

On March 29, 1900, on Tutuila, the U.S. Government purchased "Parcel No. 9: Fitiuta," totalling 0.16 acres from "Ta'amu and Gi" for $500.00. (Anonymous 1960: 3)

On March 29, 1937, Pan American's Samoan Clipper left Pago Pago for Auckland, New Zealand on her maiden flight. (Anonymous ca. 1937)

On March 29, 1942, the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Marines and Battery C of the 1st Battalion of the 11th Marines departed New River, North Carolina en route to Tutuila for further assignment to the Wallis Islands, which were part of the Samoan Defense Group. (Denfeld 1989: 35)

March 30:

On March 30, 1876, HMS Barracouta, with Samoa's defrocked Premier Albert Barnes Steinberger on board, weighed anchor in Apia Harbor and set sail for Suva, Fiji. (Gilson 1970: 330; Morrell 1960: 218)

On March 30, 1903, Commander Edmund B. Underwood, Commandant, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, issued his "Regulation No. 2-1903: Traveling Parties Between American Samoa and Western Samoa," which set forth the criteria for participating in malaga. (Noble 1931: 83-84)

On March 30, 1903, on Tutuila, the U.S. Government purchased "Parcel No. 45: Asila," totalling 0.21 acres, from "Tufue Morris" for $576.76. (Anonymous 1960: 4)

On March 30, 1943, the Battalion Medical Officer of the First Samoan Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, informed the Battalion Surgeon of the 7th Defense Battalion that "Instruction was given continually to hospital corpsmen on preliminary treatment of gunshot wounds of the head, chest and abdomen. This instruction was the result of several successful suicide attempts. Some of the Samoan Marines had felt disgraced in the face of coming mast punishments [non-court-martial punishments by the company commander] and had taken their own lives." (Anonymous 1945: 14)

On March 30, 1946, the second USS Tutuila (ARG-4) departed Taku, China and steamed to Shanghai, where she dropped anchor on April 2, 1946. (Mooney VII, 1981: 367)

On March 30, 1997, Commander Edwin B. Robinson, US Navy, (Retired), one of two Naval personnel injured in the Japanese submarine attack on the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila on January 11, 1942, died in his sleep at Casa de las Campanas in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego County, California, aged 93. (Anonymous 1997)


March 31:

On March 31, 1891, at the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, "Parcel No. 2," the "Swimming Point area, 1 rod 6 perches [was] purchased from natives ["Mailo, Taito, Taamu and Tugalelagi"]for the sum of $200 by the U.S. Government." (Anonymous 1894: 13; Anonymous 1960: 3)

On March 31, 1897, Harold Alexander Houser, the 33rd naval governor of American Samoa, was born in Fort Valley, Georgia to Emmett and Mary Mathews Houser. (USNHC: Houser RO)

On March 31, 1898, a headline in the New York Times read, "William Churchill Missing. It is feared the ex-Consul General to Samoa has killed himself." (Theroux 1995: 97)

On March 31, 1899, Mata'afa Iosefo's forces defeated Malietoa Tanumafili I's army in yet another phase of Samoa's ongoing, European-inspired civil war. (Gray 1960: 101)

On March 31, 1943, the 2nd Marine Brigade opened a revised Jungle Warfare Training Center in "Mormon" (i.e., Malaeimi) Valley, American Samoa. (Denfeld 1989a: 35)

On March 31, 1945, the U.S. Navy's Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 504 left Tutuila, and the Public Works Department reverted to a peacetime footing. (Burke 1945b: 116)

On March 31, 1984, Gustav Frederick Dertlag "Gus" Betham, also known as Fereti Misipita, passed away in Western Samoa. Mr. Betham had a long and distinguished public career, which included membership on the Legislative Council (1948) and the Legislative Assembly (1949-1971). He served as Minister of Finance from 1961 to 1969, Secretary-General of the South Pacific Commission (1971-1975), and later as Western Samoa's High Commissioner to New Zealand. He was also a golf and tennis champion. (Warburton 1996: 12)

 

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